October 15, 2015

Appleton Dress Fabric Suggestions

Finding the right fabric for knit dresses like your Appleton Dress can be intimidating, especially if you’re newer to sewing with knits. But never fear! We’re here to help. The world of online fabric shopping is a rich one, if you know what you’re looking for.

The most important thing to look for in your fabric is stretch and weight – along with an awesome print or color, of course! You’ll need a light- to mid-weight knit fabric with at least 50% crosswise stretch, and we recommend jersey or ITY.In terms of fibre type, the Appleton Dress suits cotton, rayon, or poly jerseys really well. If you’re feeling fancy, why not give silk jersey a try?

Some more tips:

  • We don’t recommend  “tissue-weight” jerseys – they’ll be too thin for this type of dress – or ponte, which will be too heavy and won’t have the stretch you need. If you’re ordering online and you’re unsure about the weight, ordering a swatch is a great idea.
  • Pay attention to the width – many if not most knits come in 54 – 60″ width, which means you need less than for a regular 45″ width fabric. Our fabric requirements have yardage for 45″ or 60″ (and the equivalent in metric):

1201 Fab Requirements image

  • Remember to pre-wash your fabric before you sew! Also, black and darker jerseys can fade and pill over time with washing, so if you use one, make sure you wash it on cold/gentle, and ideally air dry or low tumble dry.

Today, we’ve pulled together some fun fabrics that we think would make a beautiful Appleton Dress!

fun prints

Top row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Bottom row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Wrap dresses are such a fun silhouette on which to play with prints. Zebras? Why not! Pair it with black boots and a black jacket and you’re ready for a night out with friends. A painterly print like the Art Gallery knit on the bottom left paired with clogs and chunky bracelets works for brunch or a day spent at the vintage market.


Top row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Bottom row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Floral wrap dresses have an iconic look and depending on the scale of the floral can have very different aesthetics. Go for a large scale floral (like the one on the cover of the pattern or the top center pick) for a bold statement. Smaller scale ore more monochromatic florals read as a neutral. If you want to break up the look of an all-over floral, choose a complementary shade of a solid knit for the neckband and waist ties.


Top row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Bottom row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Stripes, triangles, polka dots…these classic geometric prints are great neutral workhorses in your wardrobe. Great options for work or play, you can’t go wrong with a simple geometric pattern.


Top row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Bottom row L to R: 1 // 2 // 3

Finding quality solids that have the right texture and drape for a wrap dress can be surprisingly tricky. In addition to the ones shown above, our friends at Grey’s Fabric and Notions carry an excellent variety of solid bamboo spandex jersey that works exceptionally well for this pattern.

Grey’s Fabric is also generously offering a 15% off discount from now until 10/22 using the code appleton at checkout! The Art Gallery knits available at Grey’s are also a great choice for the Appleton Dress.

In addition to Grey’s, here are some online retailers that we recommend:

United States


Do you have any other recommendations for great sources of knits?

Finally: you could buy a Cashmerette fabric kit! Alas, we’ve sold out of the Black & White bird kit, but we still have the awesome Polka dot kit available – which would be a totally fab dress for the holidays… Thanksgiving in a tie-to-fit no-waistband wrap dress? Yes please! The kit comes with black jersey, stretch mesh arms (actually very easy to sew!), ribbing for cuffs, and a tutorial on how to adjust the pattern to add the cuffs.

Cashmerette Patterns Appleton kit

We can’t wait to see what fabric you choose for your Appleton Dress! Come back next week when we start working on our dresses.

17 thoughts on “Appleton Dress Fabric Suggestions

  1. smonakey says:

    This is really a gorgeous dress & I’m deeply disappointed that the sizing doesn’t work for me. This is one sew along that I’d be all over. I’m eager to see others’ projects as you go along, though.

  2. Dawn says:

    I’m so excited (and a little intimidated!) for this dress – it will be my first project with knits! I’m in love with the geometric triangles (top right), but I think I want to do a contrast color for the neck and waist straps – how much fabric would I need for just the straps? Thanks!!! 😀

    1. Hi Dawn – you would need 5/8 yard for the contrast, if you’re OK with having your straps on the cross grain! You’ll still need the same amount for the body of the dress (the way it’s laid out for cutting means the bands just sneak in beside the other pieces, so you don’t “save” fabric length by doing a contrast).

    2. It was so nice to meet you in person today! Looking forward to seeing you at Crafty Foxes!

  3. TinaLou says:

    Thanks for posting some new-to-me knit fabric sources – more is always better! I’ve had great luck sourcing high quality, non-poly knits at both Sawyer Brook Fabrics and Elliott Berman Textiles.

  4. you have to add kitschy coo to your UK list. Although they’re seriously addictive, the quality of their fabric is so great. How about a geometric print http://www.kitschycoo.bigcartel.com/product/spark-organic-cotton-jersey-by-the-half-metre, or monorome scales http://www.kitschycoo.bigcartel.com/product/doris-organic-cotton-jersey-by-the-half-metre or ice lollies http://www.kitschycoo.bigcartel.com/product/sweet-life-popsicle-fuchsia-cotton-jersey-by-the-half-metre or cherries http://www.kitschycoo.bigcartel.com/product/sweet-life-cherry-black-cotton-jersey-by-the-half-metre (ok, I’ll stop now, but they have SO MUCH great stuff and it’s always amazing)

  5. Nadine Raley says:

    Love your suggestions. One thing I have been meaning to ask is if you have photos of your dress on a “pear” shaped model. You are an “apple” but I have hips and want to know what the dress would look like on me. Thanks.

    1. Hi Nadine – Cashmerette Patterns are designed for a busty, hourglass/rectangle/apple shape, so not for a pear shape specifically. That said, some of my testers were pear shaped and it looked good on them! I don’t have any pear shaped model pictures for you, but keep an eye on other blogs and I’m sure you’ll see some popping up soon.

    2. Emelie says:

      I saw a version on this blog where the dress was graded from a size 16 at bust and waist to a size 22 at the hips. http://gmariesews.blogspot.se/2015/10/cashmerettes-appleton-times-two.html

      I will grade between sizes on my dress as well, since I’m pear shaped and doesn’t lika negative ease at my hips.

  6. Daiga says:

    Hi, how exciting! This will be my first sewalong – thanx to your Appleton pattern Jenny! A good fabric shop in the UK is stone fabrics.co.uk – a bit pricey but good quality stuff and an exceptional customer service. I am also tempted to go with a hiding owls jersey from my fabrics.co.uk

  7. Mary in AZ says:

    I am just getting back into sewing now that I discovered a whole world of curvy sewists. My question is about washing knits. I was told not to wash them because it is easier to cut the pattern with the sizing still in the knit fabric. What are your reasons for washing knits?

    1. Hi Mary – knits can shrink just like wovens, so it’s best to wash them first before you cut and sew them.

  8. Nancy K says:

    Marcy Tilton has beautiful, high quality knits. Emmaonesock is my favorite though. Her 11oz solid color rayon lycra jersey should work for this.

  9. Chloe says:

    Excited to try this out. A very inexpensive fabric store online with LOTS of knits is GirlCharlee Fabric. They are @ $6 a yard and have hundreds of choices. I like to make a sample up in this price range and get a fit correct before I jump to the more expensive fabrics.

  10. Melise says:

    I ran across the Appleton pattern on Mary’s IdleFancy blog. My figure is similar to hers, and so I was very interested when she mentioned that she was able to make this without an FBA. I still have a couple of patterns at home that I have been meaning to sew…so I was thinking that I would just take a look, but probably not buy right away.

    So, I stroll on over to your blog, and start perusing all of the great entries about the pattern. I am reading this one about fabric options, and lo and behold there is a picture of a fabric that I fell in love with on EmmaOneSock (upper right in the geometrics section), and bought without knowing what I was planning on using it for.

    Well, I figure it must be meant to be–I just got my paper pattern in the mail last night, and I hope to be able to make the dress this weekend. I am SUPER EXCITED!!!

    Thanks for a great pattern, and I am looking forward to seeing what else you come up with.

  11. sunlightbub says:

    Hi – I have some lovely stretch velour and wondered if this would work for the Appleton? It’s got a good stretch and lovely drape

    1. As long as it has enough stretch, it should work!

Let me know what you think!